Zimbabwe to summon US envoy over ‘interference’ - Minister

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe)

The Zimbabwe government has threatened to summon the US ambassador in Harare over what it claims is Washington’s alleged interference in this week’s arrest of a top journalist critical of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo would be summoning US ambassador Brian Nichols to protest against American embassy’s alleged involvement in forces demanding the release of Hopewell Chin’ono, a Zimbabwean investigative journalist arrested on Monday.

"Within minutes of police arriving at Mr Chin'ono's home, the US embassy was already all over this issue which is between a sovereign country and its citizens, by tweeting and trying bring pressure to bear on the Zimbabwean government so (that) it would not enforce the law of the land," Mutsvangwa told journalists in Harare on Saturday.

According to Mutsvangwa, the embassy has been piling pressure on the Harare authorities to release the journalist, who has been leading a social media campaign to expose high-level corruption involving Mnangagwa’s cronies.

In one such exposes, Chin’ono raised the red flag following a multi-million-dollar corruption scandal involving the procurement of coronavirus supplies that cost former health minister Obadiah Moyo his job earlier this month.

The scandal has sucked in Mnangagwa who is seen in several pictures while supping and dining with officials of the shadowy company awarded the US$60 million contract to supply COVID-19 medical supplies to the government.

Chin’ono is being charged with inciting the public to overthrow Mnangagwa. He was denied bail on Friday and is expected to appear in court again on August 7.

The arrest was prompted by an opposition call for nationwide protests on July 31 against government corruption and economic mismanagement.

This will not be the first time that Nichols has been summoned by the Zimbabwean authorities. 

He was called to Moyo’s office last month following comments by a senior White House official that Zimbabwe was among countries trying to exploit the US protests over the killing of George Floyd to their advantage.

Other countries cited as being in the same league as Zimbabwe were Iran and Russia.


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